Articles filed under Stone, Barry

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  • Basics of maintaining a septic system Oct 3, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. I have some questions about maintaining a septic tank. Someone told me to have my tank pumped every one to two years. Someone else said, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” I’ve also been told that pumping can disturb the solids, causing them to seep into the leach lines and clog the system. My system is 12 years old and has never been pumped. What is your advice?

  • No one disclosed faulty furnace pilot light Sep 26, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. We bought our first home last month. It was built in 1948 and has a very old heating system. Our home inspector advised having the gas company check the furnace to make sure it was safe. The gas company said it was working fine.

  • Constructing air ducts underground was a bad idea Sep 12, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. The forced air vents in our floor fill with water whenever it rains. This has caused the metal ducts to rust out and expose the dirt. I have no idea who I should call or what kind of business does this type of repair work. Someone said I should seal the floor vents and install new vents in the ceiling, but that sounds very expensive and I would prefer to keep my floor vents. What is the most practical way of solving this problem.

  • Tenant worried about water heater safety Sep 5, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. We rent a one-story house with a basement and are worried about the safety of the water heater. Iit’s located high above the basement stairs, and you need to stand on an 8-foot ladder just to see the bottom of it. Should we be worried about this?

  • Home inspector overlooked faulty roofing Aug 22, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. My house and all the others on the block have flat roofs, but mine is the only one with shingles. During the last storms, my roof leaked badly, causing interior damage, and the insurance company denied my claim because of shingles on a flat roof. This defect was not disclosed by my home inspector when I purchased the property. I was told that he is liable for this omission. Is that true?

  • Handyman scams elderly homeowner Aug 15, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. I’m distressed about an unethical handyman who has been taking advantage of my elderly mother. She first called him because the nails in her roof were sticking up.

  • Do non-permitted additions add value to a home? Aug 8, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. Our home has a bedroom addition that was built without a permit. Now that we are selling, we want to know if the non-permitted addition adds value to the home, or will it not be considered when the property is appraised?

  • Badgered by belligerent bureaucrats Aug 1, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. I have owned my home for nearly two years and recently applied for a permit to build a swimming pool. That opened a can of worms with the building department. They discovered my septic system was installed 28 years ago without a permit.

  • Inspection gives added protection to owners with builders’ warranty Jul 25, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. I’m buying a new home and was planning to hire a home inspector before closing escrow. Two of my friends in a similar community advised me to save my money because the builder provides a new home warranty.

  • How to best insulate walls of an old house Jul 18, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. We have an 80-year-old home with lathe and plaster on the inside walls. The house is hard to heat in the winter and becomes very hot in the summer, so we want to add insulation. What do you recommend?

  • Home inspector advised buyers not to buy Jul 11, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. The people who were buying our home canceled the deal on the advice of their home inspector. During the inspection, he found a crack in the foundation, which he blew entirely out of proportion.

  • Faulty septic system not disclosed Jul 4, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. When we bought our house, the sellers disclosed that the septic tank was only two years old. They also gave us a report from a local septic contractor that said the system had passed inspection. Recently, we had a sewage backup in our home and have now learned that the septic tank is old and needs to be replaced.

  • Ask the House Detective: Home inspector says nothing about mold Jun 27, 2014 8:38 AM
    Q. When we bought our house, the home inspector included pictures of the foundation under the building. In one photo, there are black stains that look like mold, but nothing about mold was mentioned in the report. Why would a home inspector say nothing about mold in his inspection report?

  • Buyer says home inspectors are worthless Jun 20, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. Your articles often advise people to hire home inspectors. In my opinion, that is bad advice. I had an inspection and it was a total waste of money.

  • Homebuyers discover unpermitted addition Jun 13, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. When we bought our home, we knew that the bonus room was an addition, but the sellers never disclosed that it was not approved by the building department. Recently, we received a notice from the city that a permit for a bonus room was pulled and will soon expire.

  • Sellers worried about lack of permits Jun 6, 2014 4:22 PM
    Q. We are in the process of trying to sell our home and are concerned about the various improvements we have done over the years without obtaining building permits. Will these be an issue when we sell the home?

  • New home inspector trying to get started May 30, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. I am a new home inspector and am trying to break into the business. Some agents don’t want to recommend me to their buyers because I don’t have experience. What’s the trick to getting started in this business?

  • Leaky basement was masked by fresh paint May 23, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. We bought our home about a year ago, and no one disclosed the water seepage in the basement. The concrete walls were freshly painted when we were in escrow, but now the paint has bubbled. The sellers never said a word about this in their disclosure statement. What do you think about the lack of disclosure, and how can we fix this problem?

  • Sinks, tub often drain to separate leach field May 16, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. We bought our home a few months ago and discovered there is an open pipe that spills water into our backyard. Fortunately it only drains water from the kitchen and laundry. Nothing was disclosed by the sellers or our home inspector, and the home warranty company says this kind of problem is not covered by the policy.

  • Deal fairly with unpermitted dwellings May 9, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. In a recent article, you gave some advice that showed a lack of professional ethics. Someone wrote to you about an unpermitted guesthouse in their backyard. Rather than advising them to obey the law, you showed disdain for the building code and suggested ways of avoiding compliance.

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